Ever since she was initiated into the ritual of writing the Lord's name by none other than Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pita Adhipati (Swamy Jayendra Saraswati) way back in the early seventies, she has neither taken a break nor is she about to get over it anytime sooner. And she's quite eager to complete one crore Rama namams. But it's not just her. I guess it runs in my maternal grandparents' family. A few of her sisters are deep into it too. A couple of my aunts even completed this amazing marathon feat.
With this kind of devotion running in the family, will I be left untouched? Why sir, I'm a devotee! And a most staunch one at that too... So ideally I should be 'The Most Happiest' person when our family deity finally gets to find a home within the precincts of the Sanctum Sanctorum of the to-be-built new temple at Ayodhya.
So what if something else has been razed to dust to construct a temple for my God? So what if the temple is being built on the ruins of another shrine of historic importance? Haven't I earlier approved of Kancherla Gopanna a.k.a Sri Ramadasu "using" the tax money to be sent to the royal treasury to build a temple for the same God a few centuries ago?
Hmmm... so why does it feel bad now that the verdict is out justifying the placement of the God's idols within the ruins of a blood-ridden historical structure? Because I was always made to believe that Sri Rama is the most peace-loving, non-violent and benevolent of all the Hindu Gods. Even with my rather limited knowledge of the religious scriptures, I do know it for a fact that nobody - neither a Hindu, nor a Muslim, nor a Christian - would ever think of building a religious shrine in a graveyard!
Now how can somebody think of building a temple and place the God's idols within the premises when so much blood has been shed on the very same land (the so-called birthplace of Ram Lalla)? And that too for Sri Rama who had forgone the throne for the sake of his step-mother! I wonder which Purana, Veda, Upanishad or Dharma Shastra backs up the idea of a temple being built on a graveyard which was witness to the gory bloodbath and the deaths of thousands of people over the years.
Even a devout like my mom is not very excited about the Ram temple in Ayodhya. All she cared about on the day of the verdict was the safety of her son-in-law who was on his way home from work. She was also worried about the mid-term exams of her granddaughter (who stays many hundreds of kilometers away) which were to begin the very next day! I know my mom is genuinely happy with two things in life - writing Sriramajayam (as she's eager to touch the crore-mark) and visiting the Sri Rama temple at Bhadrachalam a couple of years ago.
No sir, I don't think I'm a great scholar. I'm neither an authority on the Hindu scriptures nor am I a pandit of sorts. I'm just an ordinary housewife from a rural village who loves to cook, clean, wash, supervise, yell at daughter, fight with husband, order around, and still be treated like 'Her Royal Highness'. But all I want in this simple life of mine is some peace... and I do know that I feel that inner peace when I pray to God with all my heart (and silently) within the precincts of my own house. Or when I listen to Sri Venkateswara or Sri Kamakshi Devi or Sri Mallikarjuna suprabhatams or devotional songs early in the morning.
I don't need a grand temple with a glittering golden idol of God who is forced to wear a diamond-studded crown on His head while millions of others are forced to find (read search the public dustbins for) food everyday of their life. I'd rather a few hundreds of them be shown the way to earn a decent meal a day than have The Grandest Temple for my God. I was never a fanatic to be overwhelmed with the urge to fight on God's behalf. I do strongly believe that God is Omni-potent - the most Supreme Powerful Being in the entire universe. So is it wrong if I leave God to fight for His own rights while I fight with my husband (for my rights of course!)?
Now this is where I feel the strong need for Divine Intervention. God, can you please look into this matter and take full control of the current situation? And yes, while you are at it, can you also please demolish all those religious shrines constructed right in the middle of the road by greedy land dealers with the mere intention of grabbing a large chunk of the government land for which I am forced to pay the taxes?
By the way, let me tell you God that while I Love (the idea of) You, I HATE the sight of your idol being incensed with the polluted air coming out of those endless rows and columns of vehicles. And don't You get irritated, Mr. God, that you've to hear the continuous cacophony, blaring honking sounds, and the non-stop noise 24X7 instead of the pleasant chiming of the temple bells? Oh, before I forget, let me reveal a secret and also offer you a bit of good advice like a good ol' friend. Please don't be too pleased with some of your "bhakts" who religiously and dutifully light a diya inside a road-side temple... these are the very people who pee on the wall right behind (or next to) your little abode.
Did someone say blasphemy? God save You... and me too!